Pierre Wunsch, Governor of the National Bank, says in an interview that Wallonia is “closer to a communist than a neo-liberal regime.” Walloon Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (PS) reacts furiously.
In a double interview on the website of the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) with climate expert Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Pierre Wunsch, Governor of the National Bank, comments on an ecological plan proposed by scientists and companies.
The ‘Sophia Plan’ advocates for substantial additional government investments in the green economy. “I think that the Sophia report does not sufficiently take into account the institutional difficulty in which Belgium finds itself,” says Wunsch.
Wunsch indicates that government expenditure in Wallonia is already very high and that ‘the economic structure in the south of the country depends on transfers from Flanders’.
“We are probably at 70 percent public spending in Wallonia for 2021-2022,” said Wunsch. “That is to say, we will be closer to a communist regime than to a neo-liberal regime, which some warn against.”
Wunsch refers to the government take-up, the share of government expenditures relative to gross domestic product. “If we are not aware that the economic structure is not self-supporting, a debate on economic reform will miss its mark,” Wunsch said.
“Governor is at the service of his country”
Walloon Prime Minister and PS figurehead Elio Di Rupo responds to Twitter displeased. “If such words have actually been spoken, then they are missing the point of content, and they are worrying because they come from a person with that function. The governor of the National Bank is at the service of his country, including the three regions that make up it. “
“He is not there to make value judgments, nor to make unfounded claims. A governor is expected to act with seriousness, prudence and restraint, not to use words that are shameful and malicious to public institutions, “added Di Rupo in a second tweet.
Other PS politicians, such as parliamentary party leader Ahmed Laaouej and Brussels Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort, also criticized, as did Ecolo elected representatives. Before his career at the National Bank, Wunsch was chief of staff to the then Minister of Finance Didier Reynders (MR).
“The governor has long pointed to the large governmental burden in our country,” said Geert Sciot, spokesman for the National Bank, in a reaction. ‘Wallonia takes the crown, but it is also high in Flanders. He wants to open the debate on this. “